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The W. H. & W. L. Bragg Prize

A new Prize in the name of W. H. & W. L. Bragg has been established by the IUCr, in honour of the father-and-son team William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg. Both father and son were responsible from 1912 onwards for establishing the then new scientific discipline of X-ray crystallography. As a result, they both shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915, W. L. Bragg still, at the early age of 25, being the youngest Nobel Prize winner in a scientific discipline.

Unlike most scientific awards that go to well-established scientists, often towards the ends of their careers, this Prize is to be awarded to one or possibly two promising crystallographers. This is very much in line with the characters of the two Braggs, who were instrumental in encouraging young scientists, both men and women without discrimination, to take up the field of crystallography. Their encouragement resulted in many young crystallographers achieving considerable distinction, for example the Nobel Prize winners Dorothy Hodgkin, Max Perutz and John Kendrew as well as Francis Crick and James Watson.

This Prize will be awarded at future IUCr Congresses, starting with the next one in 2020 in Prague, Czech Republic ( In order to deal with this, a special committee is being set up under the Chairmanship of David Billing ( of South Africa, with the aim of establishing the working procedures to be used in selecting suitable persons for the Prize. Particular emphasis will be given to finding candidates who are at the early stages of their career, for whom this Prize would be of most benefit. The committee is tasked to take into consideration the different educational systems throughout the world and, for instance, what constitutes 'early stage' in different countries. It is intended that the Prize will be global in nature, including consideration of candidates from the developing world as well as from the developed world.

The financial value of the Prize is yet to be determined, but it should be substantial, depending on IUCr funds at the time. The decision on the actual value of the Prize to be awarded will be decided by the IUCr Finance Committee closer to the Congress year. It is intended that this award will be highly prestigious and given a special, high-profile place during the Congress. This will be determined in consultation with the Congress organiser.

Given the IUCr's financial situation, it is hoped that the Prize fund will eventually be self-sustaining. In order to build up a fund, donations from private individuals as well as from commercial companies and academic institutions will be welcome, in return for recognition if required. Those interested in donating to this Prize should contact Mike Glazer ( or Jonathan Agbenyega (

Mike Glazer
8 December 2017